Biology Department Milestones 2010

In 2009, the department hired two new tenure-track faculty, saw the birth of two children, and celebrated the contributions of Stewart Ware who retired. Below are details on those milestones as well as other department news.


The most important milestone is the graduation of 85 Biology Majors in 2009. Congratulations to these and majors and to the many other 2009 graduates who are part of the extended Biology community, such as Biology Minors, Environmental Science Majors, and Neuroscience Majors.

Biology Graduation 2009

 New invertebrate biologist Jon Allen
New Hires

In 2009, two new faculty were hired: Jonathan (Jon) Allen and Matthias Leu. Jon Allen had been Assistant Professor of Biology at Randolph Macon College before coming to William and Mary. So far, Jon has taught Marine Life History Evolution, and Invertebrate Biology. While Jon has a broad range of interests, he's especially taken with the echinoderms as a model organism, as clear from a look at the sea stars adorning the artwork in his office. 

 New conservation biologist Matthias Leu

Matthias Leu is a conservation biologist who is already busy advising students and quickly began collaborations with the IIBBS group, and with the Center for Geospatial Analysis newly located in SWEM library. Matthias is originally from Switzerland, which accounts for the frequent mispronunciation of his last name, which rhymes with "joy": the EU is pronounced "oy" (think of Freud). Unlike his cohort Jon Allen, he had no children this year, but he brought his wife,two children, and one dog into the Biology Department Tribe.  

 Elizabeth Francis at work in Chesapeake Bay

Our new laboratory specialist is Elizabeth Francis, a double W&M Biology alumnus ('98 and '00), and comes to us after working at VIMS. Elizabeth wrote in her latest Alumni Update:
I'm so very happy to be back at my Alma Mater, working closely with many of the people who promoted my intellectual development as a student...I'm having a lot of fun planning events with the Biology Club, working with pressed plants in the Herbarium, exploring new subjects like viral ecology, overcoming problematic freezers, and remembering why I've always loved biology!  

 Dr. Stewart Ware leads a field trip

Stewart Ware still comes to work in the basement of Millington Hall, but not everyday of the week, since he officially retired as Professor of Biology in 2009. As Emeritus Professor, he's even seen occasionally without his signature tie that he wore whenever teaching. Stewart is busy, but seems to enjoy his added time at home with Research Professor Emeritus Donna Ware.  

Simon Allen, new member of the Biology Department family


Calvin and Oliver Kerscher


New faculty member Jonathan (Jon) Allen became a father for the first time when Simon Allen was born. Jon's wife Margaret Pizer works at VIMS, and both are very busy adjusting to a whole new life with Simon in Williamsburg. 

Assistant Professor Oliver Kerscher and his wife Dr. Aurora Kerscher (a microbiologist at Eastern Virginia Medical School) had a boy, Calvin, making Stella Kerscher a big sister.

Other News

As described in this issue's introduction, Paul Heideman completed his tenure as Biology Department Chair and is on a well-earned sabbatical. Liz Allison is now Chair and occupies the Chair's office on the ISC third floor, with Renee Peace right next door as office manger. They and others are supported in the front office by Peggy Manger and Charnel Thornton.

Besides Stewart Ware, we see several emeritus faculty in the halls of Millington and the ISC, but for the first time in years, Professor Emeritus Gustav Hall was spied in Williamsburg as a special guest of Helen Hamilton's during a tour of the herbarium by the John Clayton Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society; he recently moved back from the northwest Unites States.